New Releases 05/28/13

Top Hits
Dark Skies (supernatural thriller, Keri Russell. Rotten Tomatoes: 36%. Metacritic: 51. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Dark Skies certainly parades textbook genre trappings: children with unseen ‘friends’; vertiginous, paranoia-inducing tracking shots; feathered fauna hitting windows; walls covered in newspaper clippings of unexplained phenomena; limp bodies bent backward with eyes rolled, heads pointed skyward in a stance of demonic possession. There’s even surveillance footage in the by-now-shopworn Paranormal Activity tradition. But those elements are employed with consummate dexterity.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Lore (Germany, drama, Saskia Rosendahl. Rotten Tomatoes: 93%. Metacritic: 76.A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Stephen Holden’s Times review: “Cate Shortland’s Lore is not a fairy tale, but it feels like one: a dark, mysterious fable of hungry, frightened children making their way through a perilous enchanted forest inhabited by demons. The film sustains an air of overarching mystery in which the viewer, like the title character, is in the position of a sheltered child plunked into an alien environment and required to fend for herself without a map or compass. A remarkable young actress, Saskia Rosendahl, plays this chilly, largely unsympathetic protagonist, a blond 14-year-old German girl nicknamed Lore who herds her siblings through the Bavarian woods in the spring of 1945.” Read more…)

New American Back Catalog (post-1960)
Swimming to Cambodia (1987, Jonathan Demme-directed monologue, Spalding Gray. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 68. From Janet Maslin’s 1987 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “It would be wrong to think of Swimming to Cambodia as a one-man show, even though it captures the performance of a single artist, Spalding Gray, as he sits alone on an almost empty stage. For one thing, Mr. Gray’s feature-length monologue brings people, places and things so vibrantly to life that they’re very nearly visible on the screen. For another, this is a two-man undertaking, one that shows off both Mr. Gray’s storytelling talents and Jonathan Demme’s ability to frame them. This film’s arrival in the wake of Mr. Demme’s pioneering concert film Stop Making Sense and his jubilant, anarchic comedy Something Wild completes quite an amazing triple play.” Read more…)

New British
Life Is Sweet (1990, Mike Leigh-directed drama/comedy, Jim Broadbent. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. From Vincent Canby’s 1991 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “Life Is Sweet, opening today at the Angelika Film Center, is a very special new English comedy by Mike Leigh, the English director whose High Hopes, one of the hits of the 1988 New York Film Festival, revealed him to be a film maker not quite like any other. Among other things, Mr. Leigh makes movies in which the actors participate in the creative process, discovering and refining their characters in the course of long rehearsal periods. Such collaboration would have sent Hitchcock into permanent retirement. It obviously works for Mr. Leigh, whose gently cockeyed movies are so rich with character that they seem beyond ordinary invention. His films prompt the kind of excitement that comes only when experiencing something new or, at least, something new in the context of other movies.” Read more…)

New TV
Veep: Season 1 (Julia Louis-Dreyfus)

New Docs
The Loving Story (civil rights, interracial marriage. Rotten Tomatoes: 100%. Metacritic: 81. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “The Loving Story may be one of the slyest sleights of programming in HBO history: this documentary running on Tuesday is a love story and a landmark civil rights case, which takes care of Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. There’s more: because the film focuses on the battle to overturn laws against mixed-race marriages, HBO is also marketing it as a parable for the gay marriage movement. The tone of the film is solemn and pious, which seems almost inevitable when the topic is segregation and racial intolerance. But there are other reasons to watch this film besides feel-good expediency.” Read more…)

Music: Robert Messore & friends Thurs., May 30 at 8 PM

Robert Messore brings his take on acoustic music to the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, May 30. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover charge is $5. Messore will play solo and also with some special guest performers.

Robert Messore (meh-sor’-ee) has been called “Connecticut’s finest finger-style guitarist.” He plays beautiful instrumental guitar music and he is noted for composing tuneful pieces that work well as music, and not simply as fancy guitar playing. Robert has been called “the Heart of the New Haven Folk Scene” for his vital and many-faceted contributions as solo performer, side man, recording artist, teacher and concert presenter (working on several concert series and the Connecticut Folk Festival). Robert has passionately devoted himself to the guitar for 30+ years and was voted Best Instrumentalist in a New Haven Advocate readers’ poll.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Thursday, May 23. HOCKEY ROCK: THE ZAMBONIS

• Wednesday, May 29. No Event.

•Thursday, May 30. ACOUSTIC FOLK: ROBERT MESSORE

• Wednesday, June 5. PUNK/BLUES: SPACE ORPHANS

• Thursday, June 6. INDIE ROCK: ELISON JACKSON

• Monday, June 10. FILM SCREENING: “SAVING HUBBLE”

• Wednesday, June 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNA AYRES-BROWN

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

New Releases 05/21/13

Top Hits
Side Effects (thriller, Rooney Mara. Rotten Tomatoes: 85%. Metacritic: 75. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From A.O. Scott’s Times review: “Mr. Soderbergh has said that Side Effects will be his last theatrically released feature film. [Behind the Candelabra, his Liberace biopic starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, will be shown on HBO.] As such, it is less a summing up than a greatest-hits package, reminding viewers of some of the things that this protean director has done well in recent years. [In addition to casting Channing Tatum, that is.] It has a clammy medical anxiety that recalls Contagion, hints of the corporate shenanigans of The Informant!, the do-gooder convictions of Erin Brockovich and an eye for high-end New York environments that defined The Girlfriend Experience.” Read more…)

Stand Up Guys (comedy, Al Pacino. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%. Metacritic: 41. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The three geezers who run riot in Stand Up Guys aren’t just grumpy old men acting up. They’re veteran gangsters whose final rampage before they surrender to the dying of the light is a triumphant affirmation of vitality that the movie milks for two parts comedy to one part pathos… Because these amigos are played by Al Pacino, 72; Christopher Walken, 69; and Alan Arkin, 78, Stand Up Guys feels like a sentimental elegy for a generation of first-rate actors who, having nothing left to prove, are enjoying themselves. Most of the modest pleasures are in the ways the men expertly play off one another and invest their shallow characters with more depth than any filmmaker could reasonably expect.” Read more…)

Beautiful Creatures (fantasy/romance, Alden Ehrenreich. Rotten Tomatoes: 45%. Metacritic: 52. From Manohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Beautiful Creatures, its sweet young things and supernatural shenanigans have been marshaled to help fill the box-office void left by the end of the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises. It’s a void that The Hunger Games has already started to fill, partly by tapping into deeply American themes and giving them thrilling female form. Beautiful Creatures has been spun from thinner material, despite its strong female characters, nods at the Civil War and a story that turns on good vs. evil, a fight that — as in many young-adult stories — is somewhat mirrored in the struggle between the high school herd and the individual. There’s not much new under the moon here, which makes what the writer and director Richard LaGravenese does with the story all the more notable.” Read more…)

The Last Stand (action, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rotten Tomatoes: 59%. Metacritic: 54. From Neil Genzlinger’s New York Times review: “During a delicious 60 seconds or so in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new movie, The Last Stand, two bad guys are dispatched to their eternal punishment in memorable fashion. It may say something about Mr. Schwarzenegger’s post-gubernatorial future in action movies that he is not the trigger man in either killing.” Read more…)

The Rabbi’s Cat (France, animated feature, Francois Morel [voice]. Rotten Tomatoes: 94%. Metacritic: 74. From Jeannette Catsoulis’ New York Times review:”The frisky kitty at the heart of The Rabbi’s Cat — an endearingly loopy animated feature from Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux — is hairless, bunny-eared and intent on preparing for his bar mitzvah. We know this because the cat, after gobbling his master’s parrot, acquires a voice [provided by François Morel]. And hardly ever stops using it. Set in early-20th-century Algiers and based on Mr. Sfar’s popular series of comic books, this can’t-we-all-get-along story uses the precocious puss to anchor a daisy-chain of interfaith dialogues.” Read more…)

Starlet (drama, Dree Hemingway. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 74. A New York Times Critic’s Pick. From Manohla Dargis’ Times review: “The bright sun that blasts through Starlet, a thrillingly, unexpectedly good American movie about love and a moral awakening, bathes everything in a radiant light, even the small houses with thirsty lawns and dusty cars. This isn’t nowhere, but it’s right next door — in that part of Southern California known as the San Fernando Valley, more commonly called the Valley. A seemingly endless stretch of subdivisions and McMansions, the Valley lies far below the rarefied heights of Mulholland Drive, that glamorous crest that helps divide the Los Angeles area into distinct swaths, economic realities, lifestyle choices and states of mind.” Read more…)

Parker (action, Jason Statham. Rotten Tomatoes: 40%. Metacritic: 43. From A.O. Scott’s New York Times review: “It is part of a welcome trend, or counter-trend, in action filmmaking, an effort to strip away the apocalyptic bloat and digital fakery that have overtaken the genre and return to its pulpy, nasty, mechanical roots. If Parker is superior to some other recent work in this line — Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly and Christopher McQuarrie’s wretched Jack Reacher — that may be because Mr. Hackford is authentically rather than self-consciously old school. He knows how to pull off a caper without making a big deal about it.” Read more…)

The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (band bio doc, Keith Richards. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77.)
Open Road (romance, Camilla Belle)

New Blu-Ray
Stand Up Guys
Side Effects
Beautiful Creatures
Parker
The Rabbi’s Cat

New Foreign
Yossi (Israel, romance, Ohad Knoller. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 66. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “The movie is a sequel to Mr. Fox’s Yossi and Jagger [2003], in which Mr. Knoller played the same character when he was an army commander whose clandestine affair with a fellow officer ended tragically. That film was considered a milestone in Israeli cinema for its unblinking portrayal of a gay relationship, and Mr. Fox’s subsequent movies, Walk on Water and The Bubble, also address homosexuality. Yossi tells the beautifully acted but overly sentimental story of a man’s emotional rebirth in a more sexually liberated era. It is also a pointed portrayal of the revolution in social attitudes inside the most liberal and secularized of Israeli cities.” Read more…)

The Rabbi’s Cat (France, animated feature, Francois Morel [voice], in Top Hits)
Detective De Luca: The Complete Series (Italy, detective series set in Fascist Italy, Alessandro Prezioni)

New TV
True Blood: Season 5

New Docs
The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (band bio doc, Mick Jagger, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77.)

New Music
The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane (band bio doc, Mick Jagger, in Top Hits. Rotten Tomatoes: 92%. Metacritic: 77.)

New Gay & Lesbian
Yossi (Israel, romance, Ohad Knoller, in New Foreign. Rotten Tomatoes: 88%. Metacritic: 66.)

Hank’s Recommendations 05/21/13

hank_paperSTAND UP GUYS — Val (Al Pacino), having taken the fall for his other partners, is released after 28 years in prison and is met by his good friend and former crime compadre, Doc (Christopher Walken). Val has kept his partners’ complicity from the law, but Doc has a secret, with which he’s been struggling for 28 years, in store for Val.

In one—and possibly final—night, the two renew old memories and bonds, including with their mutual good friend and former partner Hirsch (Alan Arkin), whom they rescue from a nursing home. Together they face the night’s serendipitous opportunities and dangerous events while reminiscing and reacquainting themselves with old skills.

This is not a straight-ahead action thriller. If that’s what you’re looking for, skip this film and see IRON MAN 3, or much better yet, IRON MAN 1 or 2. There are spare but thrilling moments here of action and even a proficient and amusing car chase. But what counts in this otherwise very leisurely movie is the reminiscing and patter as Val and Doc see where the night is going to take them and where it’s going to take their friendship. The dialogue is the hook, along with the pleasures of seeing these three actors still at the top of their game. Yes, it’s a slow movie, like the three characters who have to take it slow—until circumstances plus their own whimsy demand they ratchet it up a notch or two. The “iron” here is friendship and fealty, exerting its own memorable impact in a film that takes its time about time running out.

P.S. As a longtime fan of Christopher Walken, whose performances have mostly been edgy and deviant ones, it’s good to seem him taking on straight, emotionally moving dramatic roles (as in the film above). If you haven’t seen his prior DVD release (also in Top Hits) I strongly recommend LATE QUARTET, a very New York-ish movie that also stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. It’s my favorite film this year.

Music: Zambonis to offer hockey rock Thurs., May 23, at 8 PM

The hockey rock band The Zambonis will play the Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, May 23. The cover charge is $5 and the music starts at 8 PM.

Few rock bands have been featured in both Sports Illustrated and Billboard. Few have played both punk-rock clubs and hockey arenas like Madison Square Garden. Few have appealed to fans young and old. But the quirky 100% hockey-rock Zambonis have somehow prevailed—impressing music snobs, sports freaks and critics simultaneously.

The Zambonis formed in 1991 as a group that played nothing but songs about hockey. What started as a fun “little thing” is now the most popular sports-rock band in North America. Explaining the band’s unique style, Captain Dave Zamboni says, “We’re the only band in the world whose two biggest influences are The Beatles and Wayne Gretzky!”

Commenting on the disc, the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Slapstick meets slapshots…For the true hockey fan, this is a must. For the casual fan, it’s still one big smile.” While Billboard added, “They have a sense of humor about themselves…A timely and surprisingly appealing release.” Time Out New York chimed in, anointing the band “the Pearl Jam of hockey rock.”

Watch The Zambonis’ official video for their song “I’m a Puck”:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Sunday, May 19. MUSIC, IMAGE & SPOKEN WORD: MARK SABA & TOM IZZO

• Thursday, May 23. HOCKEY ROCK: THE ZAMBONIS

•Thursday, May 30. ACOUSTIC FOLK: ROBERT MESSORE

• Wednesday, June 5. PUNK/BLUES: SPACE ORPHANS

• Thursday, June 6. INDIE ROCK: ELISON JACKSON

• Monday, June 10. FILM SCREENING: “SAVING HUBBLE”

• Wednesday, June 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNA AYRES-BROWN

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

Music: Lyric Hall Big Band to perform Wed., May 22, at 8 PM

Lyric_Hall_Big_Band_WebThe Lyric Hall Big Band—an offshoot of the Lyric Hall Orchestra, renowned for accompanying silent films at the restored vaudeville hall in Westville—plays the Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, May 22. The music starts at 8 PM and the admission is $5. The Lyric Hall Large Band plays everything from Perez Prado to Kool and the Gang. Star Wars tunes to Thelonious Monk.

Come hear Steve Asetta (sax), Keith Yarbrough (tuba), Tim Kane and Nick Di Maria (trumpets), Jim Berger and Nate Trier (euphonium) and Matt Moadell (drums) play their way from Jamaica to New Orleans, Cuba, Manhattan and more.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Sunday, May 19. MUSIC, IMAGE & SPOKEN WORD: MARK SABA & TOM IZZO

• Thursday, May 23. HOCKEY ROCK: THE ZAMBONIS

•Thursday, May 30. ACOUSTIC FOLK: ROBERT MESSORE

• Wednesday, June 5. PUNK/BLUES: SPACE ORPHANS

• Thursday, June 6. INDIE ROCK: ELISON JACKSON

• Monday, June 10. FILM SCREENING: “SAVING HUBBLE”

• Wednesday, June 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNA AYRES-BROWN

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

New Releases 05/14/13

Top Hits
Cloud Atlas (science fiction/drama, Tom Hanks. Rotten Tomatoes: 68%. Metacritic: 55. From A. O. Scott’s New York Times review: “Cloud Atlas is a movie about migratory souls and wayward civilizations, loaded with soaring themes and flights of feeling, as vaporous and comprehensive as its title. Big ideas, or at least earnest intellectual conceits, crowd the screen along with suave digital effects and gaudy costumes. Free will battles determinism. Solidarity faces off against domination. Belief in a benevolent cosmic order contends with fidelity to the cruel Darwinian maxim that ‘the weak are meat the strong do eat.'” Read more…)

Texas Chainsaw (horror, Alexandra Daddario. Rotten Tomatoes: 19%. Metacritic: 31. From Andy Webster’s New York Times review: “Let’s see, how many name actors have enrolled in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre school of hard blows over that horror franchise’s history? There are Viggo Mortensen [class of 1990]; Matthew McConughey and Renee Zellweger [1994]; Jessica Biel [2003]; and Matt Bomer of White Collar [2006]. Now add Alexandra Daddario [of Percy Jackson & the Olympians], Scott Eastwood [yes, Clint’s son] and Tremaine Neverson [a k a the singer Trey Songz], who graduate with flying limbs in the new, generic sixth installment, Texas Chainsaw 3D.” Read more…)

Liz & Dick (romance, Lindsay Lohan. Rotten Tomatoes: 33%. Metacritic: 26. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “There are moments in “Liz & Dick when Lindsay Lohan looks a lot like Elizabeth Taylor. There are others in which she looks like Elizabeth Taylor doing a Saturday Night Live impersonation of Lindsay Lohan. Liz & Dick, being shown on Sunday on Lifetime, could be worse. Some scenes, though there are too few of them, are kind of fun. The film’s real failure is that it’s not terrible enough. Instead it is a respectful and oddly cramped tribute to the legendary love affair between Taylor and Richard Burton that isn’t vulgar enough to be entertainingly campy and is too wedded to the myth to riff imaginatively on the couple’s gaudy, outsize celebrity.” Read more…)

If I Were You (comedy/drama, Marcia Gay Harden. Rotten Tomatoes: 10%. Metacritic: 28. From Stephen Holden’s New York Times review: “Buried in the bloat of Joan Carr-Wiggin’s interminable If I Were You are the seeds of what might have been a lean, snappy farce about duplicitous, adulterous games. The story of Madelyn [Marcia Gay Harden], a boozy middle-aged marketing executive who impulsively bonds with her husband’s girlfriend, has its goofy moments but lacks focus, precision and structure. The pace is sluggish and the humor spotty. Just when you think it might settle into a comfortable rhythm, it throws in unnecessary characters and takes a mystifying tangent.” Read more…)

Upstream Color (drama/sci-fi, Shane Carruth. Rotten Tomatoes: 87%. Metacritic: 80. From Msanohla Dargis’ New York Times review: “Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color, a deeply sincere, elliptical movie about being and nature, men and women, self and other, worms and pigs, opens with two scenes: Two teenage boys biking around a leafy suburb, and elsewhere, a man harvesting little white worms from orchid root balls. The teenagers slowly tracing circles on the pavement are so attractively framed by the soft, shimmery light and blurred background that they look as if they could have biked out of a Terrence Malick movie. The teenagers join the man, who does nasty things with worms and could be a concerned florist, an experimental entomologist, a budding serial killer or just a run-of-the-mill science-fiction freak.” Read more…)

New Blu-Ray
Cloud Atlas
Texas Chainsaw
Upstream Color
Jubal (1956, western, Glenn Ford. From Bosley Crowther’s 1956 New York Times review in verse [requires log-in]: “‘WON’T you slip into my bedroom?’/ Coos the fat ranch-owner’s wife/ To the ambulating cowboy/ Who has come into her life./ ‘Tis the nicest little bedroom;/ Cozy place to park your spurs/ While my husband’s branding cattle./ You take “His” and I’ll take “Hers”.’/ ‘Nothing doing,’ says the cowboy./ ‘Why not?’ asks the fat man’s frau./ ‘Cause your husband treats me kindly,’/ Says the cowboy. So that’s how/ All the trouble starts in Jubal,/ Latest western roundelay/ That Columbia Pictures offered/ At the Mayfair yesterday.” Read more…)

New Foreign
Borgen: Season 1 (Denmark, drama series, Sidse Babett Knudsen. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “A reason Downton Abbey, a Masterpiece drama about masters and servants, was such a huge hit in the United States is that it appealed as an old-world version of The West Wing — instead of electoral politics and all the president’s aides, Downton Abbey romanticized patrilineal power and the weird upstairs-downstairs bonds built into the British class system. Borgen is in that league, even though it is a political drama set in, of all places, the Danish Parliament. The same Danish team behind the original version of The Killing created Borgen, and it too focuses on a strong woman, only this time she leads not a homicide investigation, but an entire country.” Read more…)

New Classics
Jubal Blu-Ray (1956, western, Glenn Ford, in New Blu-Ray section. From Bosley Crowther’s 1956 New York Times review in verse [requires log-in]: “‘WON’T you slip into my bedroom?’/ Coos the fat ranch-owner’s wife/ To the ambulating cowboy/ Who has come into her life./ ‘Tis the nicest little bedroom;/ Cozy place to park your spurs/ While my husband’s branding cattle./ You take “His” and I’ll take “Hers”.’/ ‘Nothing doing,’ says the cowboy./ ‘Why not?’ asks the fat man’s frau./ ‘Cause your husband treats me kindly,’/ Says the cowboy. So that’s how/ All the trouble starts in Jubal,/ Latest western roundelay/ That Columbia Pictures offered/ At the Mayfair yesterday.” Read more…)

Abraham Lincoln: Political Genius (1930, D.W. Griffith bio-pic, Walter Huston. From Mordaunt Hall’s 1930 New York Times review [requires log-in]: “David Wark Griffith, the old master of the early silent screen, presented last night at the Central his first audible film, an episodical conception of the life of Abraham Lincoln. It is quite a worthy pictorial offering with a genuinely fine and inspiring performance by Walter Huston in the rôle of the martyred President. Through Mr. Griffith’s intimate knowledge of the vagaries of the camera, Mr. Huston is thoroughly believable in the rôle, even though in life he does not approach Lincoln’s stature of six feet three inches. This actor’s diction is firm and pleasing, and toward the close of the production the incidents are suspenseful, particularly during the passages devoted to Sheridan’s victory.” Read more…)

New British
The Bletchley Circle: Cracking A Killer’s Code (thriller, Anna Maxwell Martin. Metacritic: 73. From Alessandra Stanley’s New York Times television review: “Churchill called the thousands of puzzle-solvers and clerks who spent World War II at Bletchley Park secretly breaking enemy codes ‘my geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled.’ And almost as extraordinary as their work was — some say the decryption of Germany’s Enigma machine hastened the end of the war by as many as two years — their loyalty to the Official Secrets Act is almost impossible to fathom. Codebreakers kept silent about their war effort for decades; the British government didn’t officially recognize Bletchley Park veterans until 2009. Nowadays, it is still possible to read newspaper obituaries of 90-year-olds who never told their spouses, parents or siblings what they really did during the war. The Bletchley Circle, a three-part series that begins Sunday on PBS, finds an imaginative way to give overdue credit to those unrecognized government servants, most of whom were women.” Read more…)

New TV
Dexter: Season 7

Hank’s Recommendations 05/14/13

hank_paperROBOT & FRANK — This simple story that’s simply produced features Frank Langella as a long retired cat burglar who has twice served time and is now living alone on the cusp of dementia in a New York state suburban house. He is given a caretaking robot by his dutiful long-distance son, which he resentfully rejects out of hand, until he starts instructing the robot about burglary, enlisting his special abilities in a caper.

Despite a couple of holes in the plot and a lameness in a couple of the characters, this quietly cautionary tale offers a Ray Bradbury-ish sweetness as well as the simple eloquence of one of that author’s enduring and prescient themes: the supplanting of our contemporary life by a virtual world that seems more real than life itself.

Music, Image & Spoken Word: Mark Saba and Alphonse Izzo Sun., May 19, at 3 PM

MarkSaba_72dpiBest Video Performance Space will host a multimedia event by poet Mark Saba and composer Alphonse Izzo on Sunday, May 19, at 3 PM. Admission is $5.Mark will read poems from his recently-published collection, “Painting a Disappearing Canvas” (Grayson Books) against an original score composed by Alphonse as well as images produced by Mark in iMovie. Images will also accompany Alphonse’s composition, “Special Green Interlude,” before Mark concludes the evening with one of his short stories.

Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and nonfiction for over thirty years. In addition to his poetry collection, he has had two short novels published, as well as many stories, essays, and poems in literary magazines and anthologies around the U.S. and abroad. Several of the poems in “Painting a Disappearing Canvas” reflect his Pittsburgh roots.

Tony Norman reviewed “Painting a Disappearing Canvas” for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, writing:

There are poets who exercise admirable restraint, yet somehow manage to squeeze in a lot of images between the lines. Former Pittsburgher Mark Saba falls into this category. His language is rich and imagistic, but nuanced; tender, yet suspicious of false sentiment. A few poems touch on Pittsburgh in this collection, but most are about other states of mind and being. “Painting a Disappearing Canvas” is sublimity guaranteed to linger.

Mark is a graduate of Wesleyan University (BA) and Hollins College (MA), where he won an Academy of American Poets Award as well as the Andrew James Purdy fiction award. He is also a painter. See some of his work at his Web site.

Alphonse_IzzoAlphonse Izzo, a graduate of the Hartt School, is a composer and performer based in New Haven, CT. His music has been performed throughout the USA, most recently at Carnegie Hall, in Canada, Europe and Argentina.

He has composed music for fixed media, film, dance, chamber ensembles and rock bands. Alphonse Izzo’s music is represented by Honey Rock Publishing and Canondale Publishing. His music appears on CD via Trace Label and Vox Novus. See his Web site for more information.

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, May 15. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

• Thursday, May 16. ROCK—ROPE

• Sunday, May 19. MUSIC, IMAGE & SPOKEN WORD: MARK SABA & TOM IZZO

• Thursday, May 23. HOCKEY ROCK: THE ZAMBONIS

•Thursday, May 30. ACOUSTIC FOLK: ROBERT MESSORE

• Wednesday, June 5. PUNK/BLUES: SPACE ORPHANS

• Thursday, June 6. INDIE ROCK: ELISON JACKSON

• Wednesday, June 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNA AYRES-BROWN

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS

Music: Rope to rock Thurs., May 16, at 8 PM

ROPE is a New Haven based trio playing original music, classics, underground gems, lowdown blues and folk. We also dig surf-music and lay it out both electric and acoustic. Members are all veteran performers having played in such bands as Bill Bakers Satins, SUBDUEDS (New Haven), Christine Ohlman, Hilton Valentine’s Skiffledog (guitarist for The Animals) to name a few. Sal Paradise, guitars vocals composer/arranger, has been active in the New Haven and CT Music scene since 1978.

ROPE is: Sal Paradise, guitars, vocals; Pat Quinn, drums, back-up vocals; David Hurd, bass.

Check out this video of Rope performing their song “How Could You”:

UPCOMING PERFORMANCE SPACE EVENTS:

• Wednesday, May 15. JAZZ: THE NICK Di MARIA QUARTET

• Thursday, May 16. ROCK—ROPE

• Sunday, May 19. MUSIC, IMAGE & SPOKEN WORD: MARK SABA & TOM IZZO

• Thursday, May 23. HOCKEY ROCK: THE ZAMBONIS

•Thursday, May 30. ACOUSTIC FOLK: ROBERT MESSORE

• Wednesday, June 5. PUNK/BLUES: SPACE ORPHANS

• Thursday, June 6. INDIE ROCK: ELISON JACKSON

• Wednesday, June 12. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNA AYRES-BROWN

• Thursday, June 13. INDIE ROCK: THE MOUNTAIN MOVERS

• Wednesday, June 19. CABARET: RICH MORAN

• Thursday, June 20. INDIE POP: THE FURORS, AL HOWARD

• Wednesday, June 26. INDIE ROCK: THE JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, June 27. SINGER-SONGWRITERS: FRANK CRITELLI, MARK MIRANDO

• Wednesday, July 10. ACOUSTIC FOLK: SHELDON CAMPBELL

• Thursday, July 11. ACOUSTIC ROCK: JAMES VELVET & THE LONESOME SPARROWS